2017 – The Year of Concerts

Quote: “If you told me I could only do one thing, I would choose live concerts.” — Mandy Patinkin
Song: Greatest Love Story by LANCO
Location: Red Deer, Alberta

2017, what a year!! I think it was absolutely fantastic. But, this isn’t for me to reflect on the year. Well, I guess it is, but, a different type of reflection. For me, 2017 was the YEAR of CONCERTS. There are few things (if any) I love more in this world than live music. Concerts are one of my favorite ways to spend money. No problem. I love hearing musicians I love, LIVE. So, here is a nice little reflection on all of the artists I was able to enjoy LIVE this 2017 year!

First up, one of my favorites artists (may have to do with the fact he mentions my name in not one, but TWO of his songs) BON JOVI.
Bon JoviBon Jovi at The Forum. What an incredible show and start to the Year of Concerts. This House is Not For Sale was not only a wonderful tour, but Bon Jovi told a story that I will never forget. Almost 2-3 decades ago (many many years), he performed at The Forum to a half empty crowd. He figured his career was almost done and he went “home” to whatever hotel they were staying at that night and cried himself to sleep, thinking it was all over. He said, “If only I could have told myself then where I’d be in 25 years, performing to a SOLD OUT crowd, here, at The Forum.” The Forum had many memories for him, all which he shared, but that was the one that stuck with me the most. It was cool to see one of my favorite artists in such a monumental place for him! He also was a CLASSY performer. Totally family friendly, no inappropriate language, kids were rocking out to him just as hard as the adults. What a GREAT GUY!! Anddd….Tommy and Gina. ❤

The LumineersThe Lumineers – OMG. I have waited SO LONG to see The Lumineers. I miss them every time. They were opening for U2 and I cannot wait to see them on their own tour, but this was at least amazing. Also, The Lumineers and U2 in ONE SHOW? How much more perfect can life get? This was an absolutely fantastic set for them. They were soooo good. Cannot wait to see them again. Will definitely buy tickets!! (They’re in my Top 5 favorite musicians list so really….they could have sucked and I’d still buy future tickets, but it was awesome to see them thriveee!!)

U2 at the Rose Bowl. U2 tickets are way too hard to get. They’re also way too expensive. I bought the cheapest tickets I could get my hands on in pre-sale, and they were awful seats. I’m glad I saw them, it was a huge check off the bucket list, but I would never see them again unless I was way closer. This was the Joshua Tree Tour, in honor of 30 years since that album was released, and their stage show was a replica of it. 30 years ago they didn’t have big screens so…..they didn’t here either.  U2So I get it but also, how do I know it was Bono and not some impersonator? I don’t. Because they were the size of ants. They sounded great though. But in the stack of concerts this year, they didn’t even come close to being at the top. I told a great friend of mine after that, “I wouldn’t see them again unless you and I were dating and you’d never seen them.” To which he responded, “I’ve already seen them.” Thanks for that dude. Clearly you are NEVER going to ask me out, literally handed him a neon sign saying go for it. Hahaha Forget him, I mailed him a shirt, and…I’ll go again. But only if my tickets are super close. Or not at the Rose Bowl. It’ll be interesting to see them at a tour that’s not a replica of the past.

Brett Young – Fantastic. He was the first opener for Lady Antebellum and joined the stage with them again at one point during their set. Can’t wait to see him on his own tours!

Kelsea Ballerini – Peter Pan. OMG. I love that song. So much. I’m also a weirdo fan of anything Peter Pan so, that helps. She was the second opener for Lady Antebellum and what a great performance. It was like her own mini-concert. Super glad I was able to see her and hear Peter Pan ring through the valleys surrounding the Hollywood Bowl!

Lady AntebellumLady Antebellum at the Hollywood Bowl. FANTASTIC. There’s just something about live country music. One, they’re always exactly the same as the radio because they don’t auto tune themselves. Two, they’re just fun. Although I haven’t really listened to most of Antebellum’s new stuff, I’m a fan of their oldies and they played just as much of that as their new record. You Look Good World Tour, another great one for the books!

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill at the Staples Center. Woohoo. We’ve hit a country double whammy. The Soul 2 Soul Tour was absolutely AH-MAZING! How can it not be when you’re seeing BOTH Tim McGraw AND Faith Hill in one setting? To make it even better, I bought second hand tickets…which ended up being VIP. VIP in the Staples Center is the life you always want to live. Tim McGraw and Faith HillTrust me. Also, Tim McGraw is a favorite of mine and he played all of my favorites, including Shotgun Rider: A song which I don’t leave out on any mixed CD I’ve ever made. True, classy, country performers. Humble and Kind. They live what they preach…or they live what they sing. One of the top concerts of the year for sure.

Coldplay at the Rose Bowl. Now, this one is a tough opinion to beat. Coldplay is and are, my favorite musicians. So even if they had a crappy show, they’d be #1 in my heart. I actually had already gone to the A Head Full of Dreams tour in 2016 (at the Rose Bowl), but knew they were returning in 2017. ColdplayJust days before the 2017 LA show, my friend’s sister posted some videos from their Edmonton show and I realized I was going to have to buy tickets to see them again. Just because I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. I do think Mylo Xyloto was a better tour. (I saw that in Edmonton.) But, it is cool to see their tours in outdoor arenas. Then you can get the full confetti and fireworks show!! (And I LOVE FIREWORKS as much as I LOVE CONCERTS.) Side note: This concert was just a few days after the terrible acts in Las Vegas. Thank you to Coldplay and the Rose Bowl who had extra security, and also had emergency exits explained for EVERY SINGLE SECTION before the show was allowed to begin.

Tom Walker. Let me guess, you don’t know who he is? LOOK HIM UP RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THIS GUY IS GONNA BE SOMEBODY and you can remember when GINA SAID LOOK HIM UP. Absolutely FANTASTIC. AND he’s one heck of a SUPER NICE GUY TOO!

The ScriptThe Script at The Wiltern. YES. This may have been the concert of the year solely because of my INSANELY AMAZING tickets. ON THE FLOOR, as close as possible, inside the pit. Amazing. The Script, like The Lumineers, I have missed every single tour. EVERY SINGLE ONE. But, FINALLY, I was able to catch them on the Freedom Child Tour. A very fitting name too. They were absolutely AMAZING. Sounded great, were personable, and just put on an absolutely amazing show. This was also my first time at The Wiltern, and since then, it has become my favorite place in LA to watch concerts. Great venue!! Can’t wait to see The Script again!!

Sheryl Crow Particle Kid. At first I thought he was a weird opener for Sheryl Crow, but let me tell ya, this guy has some talent. He also told a story about him listening to Sheryl Crow as a kid and how he can’t believe she’s now like his crazy Aunt. Had me sold at that story. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m all about the personal stories these musicians like to tell. I soak them up like butter in a croissant.

Sheryl Crow at the Fonda Theatre. I literally left work at 8:30pm and bought a ticket for this show at 8:55pm. The show started at 9. What a great buy for a Monday night. Sheryl Crow was one of my childhood favorites and I still love her. You really don’t realize how many hits she has until you listen to her Greatest Hits albums and it’s every single song she’s ever sang. She did not fail in person. Sounded identical to every recording ever and was a true country artist on stage. Love her mellow indie vibes.  Also, Fonda Theatre was another rad venue.

Liam Gallagher at The Wiltern. First, I LOVE OASIS. Oasis is one of my Top 5 musicians/bands. The chances of me ever seeing them perform are 0. Okay….maybe 0.1. Seeing them separately is all I can do, and of course, it’s Liam’s voice we want to hear. Liam GallagherLiam has a bit of a reputation when it comes to concerts….he’s been known to storm off stage and not return, forget lyrics, start fights with the audience. He did none of that during the As You Were Tour. He put on a freaking great show AND his voice was incredible. He didn’t sing Wonderwall which broke my heart, but you have to be thankful for just getting a show when it comes to the Gallagher brothers. I would definitely buy tickets for Liam again, and just hope that this show wasn’t my one lucky time. Also, shout out to everyone attending. I believe this was the nicest crowd of people at a concert this entire year. The crowd actually stayed 30 minutes after the show had ended to sing Wonderwall, and other Oasis hits that didn’t get touched. It was beautiful. I met some cool people there too. Definitely a great memory!!!

OH MY GOSH. THIS BRINGS US TO THE LAST CONCERT OF THE YEAR. LANCO. LANCO was by far, the friendliest band this year. They even invited me in (thanks to a very persistent friend) for a meet-n-greet before the show because the tickets were a birthday gift for me. They were so genuine and polite, it made me even happier to be a fan of them. LANCO1Even better, I have been a fan of them BEFORE they were on the radio. The friend from the U2 story, he always finds me these super indie bands before they make it big. LANCO was the first band that I was able to send HIM before they became popular. Although Troublemaker was their first big hit, Greatest Love Story is my favorite. (And again, I knew it before the radio play.) I LOVEEEE that song. It’s ah-mazing. Go listen to it if you haven’t heard it yet. The cool thing about LANCO, they performed at the Troubadour which is a venue that has stories to tell. It was very popular in past decades for musicians to perform in, but it is also a very small venue. This allowed a close intimate performance with the audience. Their frontman, Brandon Lancaster, at one point, divided the crowd and then ran through the middle of us banging drums, etc. Something I’m glad he’s taking advantage of now, because that’ll be much harder to do at the Staples Center. (I trust they’ll get that big.)

LANCOLANCO also holds a special place in my heart because it was my LAST CONCERT of 2017, to finish off 2017 The Year of Concerts. I should mention, by the way, I didn’t wake up January 1st and say, “This is gonna be the year of concerts.” It actually just became a joke mid-way through the year because I was just continuously going or continuously buying tickets. (I am also missing some of the openers but…I put in the openers that mattered in my heart, and my ears.) Either way, what a year of live music it has been!!! It has been AWESOME. (And for those not familiar with the venue names, these were all in Los Angeles. I’m just writing this blog from my Canadian Winter getaway.) Thank you to all of the bands, venues, friends I went with, performers, audience members beside me, merchandise attendees, THANKS Y’ALL for supporting and being a part of making live music happen.

Can’t wait to find out who I’ll be seeing in 2018. I’m hoping to make a trip out to Nashville. Hmmm, 2018, The Year of Travelling, sounds pretty good too, no?

Happy New Year Y’all! ❤

 

 

 

Tony Reavis drops his EP, So Grown: Interview HERE

Quote: “I want to stay real to me.” –Tony Reavis
Song: My Life in Second Grade by Tony Reavis
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Alright my bloggers! Today we have a special blog with actor and musician, Tony Reavis. Reavis, who lives in Los Angeles, released his EP, So Grown, TODAY, but still had some time to interview with me! Read the interview and check out his EP. Links are at the end of the article! If you don’t want to read the interview but want to hear some amazing music, just scroll to the bottom!

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GO: Where are you from Tony/where do you call home?

TR: I’m from a suburb of Seattle but I just say Seattle because if you’re not from there, no one knows. Seattle will definitely always be home.
But shout-out out to Kent, if people know what it is, because I definitely wear Kent with pride as well. But again, if you’re not from the area, you have no idea.

Tony ReavisGO: What inspired you to start in music?

TR: I’ve always done it as a hobby since back when I got into the arts. I’m definitely an actor first, and a comedian, but it’s always been something that I’ve been interested in and thought I was good at. (And had people tell me I was good at too!) When I moved to LA, I used it as a way to express myself and my stories. I have a lot of stories to tell, even if they’re goofy. This is a way for me to tell those stories and you know, that’s the goal.

GO: You said “back when you got into the arts”, have you not always been involved in the performing arts?

TR: No. Looking back on my life, I can see the seeds that were planted and how I always wanted to be but it wasn’t until I was about 20 years old. Before that it was always about baseball and sports and when I was done with baseball I was like “What do I do now?” Then I kind of fell into it and fell in love with it, and now, here I am.

GO: Let’s get into the EP itself, where did the inspiration for the EP come from?

TR: Well, the main thing I always want to do, whether it’s with my comedy or writing, or anything like that, at the end of the day, I want to make people laugh, smile, and feel good. But, when it comes to music, the most important thing to me is realism. When you look at me and hear that I’m doing a rap album, there can be a lot of raised eyebrows at that. So the most important thing was being real to me.

GO: You definitely don’t look like most rappers. You actually look like a pretty clean cut guy. Will your music reflect that too?

TR: My music is very different from other rap music but not in a parody way like Weird Al. It’s more story. I’m never going to rap about anything I don’t believe in. It’s never gonna be about guns or money because that’s not the world I live in. I have a song called My Life in Second Grade because that to me is silly, fun and no one is ever gonna have a song about that. It’s just my kinda thing. I want to stay real to me.

GO: My Life in Second Grade is hilarious and was released about a year ago. Was that your first song?

TR: Yeah, I released it because I’ve been working on this for a year and a half and when you’ve worked on something for so long, you want to share it. I released it kinda quietly. I didn’t promote it or anything, I just shared it. Just so people who heard I was doing this music thing knew what I was doing.

Tony ReavisGO: Where did the idea for the EP title, So Grown, come from?

TR: Basically the idea of the EP being titled So Grown is in light of itself because I feel like I’m still a child and that goes along with a lot of the songs. They all tackle important life things but the satire of the songs is that I’m not grown at all. So the song Grown Ass Man is that I list off the things that make me a man but they’re silly things that probably prove that I’m not a man. Worst Valentine’s Day,  I tackle love, but at the end you see maybe I’m not as mature as I thought. Or in My Life in Second Grade, I think that might be the first time in rap history that someone raps about second grade. Because it’s not just an anecdote, the entire song is about a day of my life in second grade. So it’s all a wink wink but in the end you see I still have a lot of growing up to do.

GO: Your song Worst Valentine’s Day… it goes through a bunch of stories that happened on Valentine’s Day….are those real stories that happened to you?

TR: Ha! Um, they are based on true events. It’s not exact. I took liberties for the art and sake of the story, but they’re definitely rooted in truth. Not exactly verbatim. There are definitely people out there, that if they listen to it, it’ll sound familiar to them.

GO: What’s your favorite song on the EP?

TR: Ummmm. It changes. It always changes. Used to be Dope Ass Day because that’s kind of the single per say. If one of my songs were gonna be on the radio, it’d probably be that one, plus I have the music video for it and it encompassed what I’m all about. Great vibe. But it changes. I have a song called The Party which may be my favorite song now that the EP is finished and I’ve listened to it all the way through. It’s an anti-rap song. I’m straight-edge and so it could be called anti-rap. I don’t do drugs or go to the club. And this song is about me at a party and how it was a rough time. It’s the most story driven so that might be why it’s my favorite song now. It’s a very interesting take on a rap song. But I’m sure everyone will have their own favorite song and you can make a good case for each one.

GO: I heard that you’ve never had a drink in your life, is that true?

TR: Yes. Very true. Never had a drink in my life. 25 years. Never done a drug that’s not medicinal… as in pharmaceutical… not what some people call medicinal. Yepp, just my lifestyle.

GO: Most rappers don’t live this type of lifestyle. You’re beating against the grain of a stereotypical rapper.  Are you scared?

TR: No. I mean, it’s just who I am. It makes me different but I don’t think different is bad. This goes back to why I even do the things I do when it comes to music and stuff. I just want to be true to myself. I don’t want to make a song about something that I don’t believe in. That’s why I’ll never make a song about gang violence. I never grew up that way. And some people did. Kendrick Lamar grew up in Compton. We have a very different background. And I respect those stories, but I didn’t grow up that way. It’s not me. And it’s very important to me to never pretend to be something I’m not.

Tony ReavisGO: What is your goal within this industry?

TR: Oh geez, that’s a tough question because I’m a very ambitious person. My goals kinda change every day because there’s so much that I wanna do. This whole music thing started out as a hobby but, now it’s something that I could see myself doing for a very long time. I’m always an actor at heart but, working on this music and working hard on this EP, this is something I want to continue doing. This is the first step into this world and I want to see where this takes me before I set any solid music goals, you know what I mean?

GO: I totally do! Since this was/is your first step, what was your process for making the EP?

TR: Process, oh man. Um. It was really weird. When I started it, I pretty much wrote about 9 songs in like a 5 day span. I don’t know what hit me but you know, the motivation came and I just couldn’t put the pen down. About 4 of those songs made it onto the EP.
One of the things about me as an artist, I always want to be doing something. It’s important to make your own work. Especially as an actor. So it just hit me and I showed a few people and they were like, “Yo this is really good.” So then it became something that actually started to happen. I took my time with it and that’s why it’s taken me a year and a half.
When I first went into the studio, my engineer gave me some good advice. He told me to have a plan and not just release it; otherwise only 500 people would hear it and then no one else. He said to listen to it until you’re sick of it then, release it when you’re ready with a plan. Like, Dope Ass Day, by the time the music video came out, I had heard that song so many times, I would have been okay if I never heard it again. But I’m glad I waited until the video was done rather than simply releasing the song, because now I’m in love with the song again. The first time people heard the song was with the music video and that’s what helped it become what it is, so I’m glad I waited past the initial excitement of just the single. Wouldn’t have had the same impact if there was no music video.

GO: What was it like making the music video for Dope Ass Day?

TR: It was a lot of fun! It was my first music video. It was a very light-hearted video and a lot of fun to make because it’s just a lot of fun, even when you watch it. And it was kinda my first step into this world. I was really really pleased with how it worked out. I worked with great people on it, Tilted Screen Media. They really brought my vision to life and I didn’t have to work hard on being like, “No this is what it’s supposed to be like.” We were on the same page from Day 1. You know it’s gonna be a successful thing when there are happy accidents- when something happens in the shoot and you think, “Oh yeah! We can use that!”

Tony Reavis and Brent WhiteGO: I’m guessing there was a happy accident then?

TR: Oh yeah! Brent [White], who is my hype man, we didn’t know what he was going to do in this video so we were like, “[Brent] go hang out for a while.” So someone buried him in the sand and we were like, “Hey let’s use that!” And that may be my favorite part of the video now!

GO: Do you plan to tour or perform live?

TR: I mean, that would be one of my goals and a dream come true to do that. You know, being an independent artist, it’s never easy. The first step is trying to gain an audience and demand. Because you know, if no one is listening, then there is no one to perform to. When you listen to the songs, they’re all story driven and the goal is to get music videos for all the songs. When you hear it, it’s funny, but when you hear and see, it’s funnier because you can see it play out. But I did a show in LA and it went way better than what I thought it would. And I think that’s because I’m an actor so I know to perform the song, not just sing it. So, it’s definitely great hearing it live because you can see me perform it. So that’s the long answer for yes, that’d be a dream come true.

GO: Before the interview, you told me about something that happened during your live performance, will you share the story for our readers?

Tony ReavisTR: When I performed Grown Ass Man, where the title of the EP comes from, which again, is a satire where I list off things that, in my eyes, make me a man. At the end, there is a trumpet solo and I say that’s one of thing things that make me so grown because I enjoy finer things like jazz. There’s a bit in it that I want to start rapping again but the trumpet keeps cutting me off. I was worried that it wasn’t gonna work but it actually worked so well that the DJ actually thought something was wrong with the track and that the trumpet wasn’t supposed to keep playing. So I was scared it wasn’t gonna work and it actually worked too well. So that’s a good thing.

GO: Tony! We need to know… is there more music on the way?

TR: Yeah, always! I released the EP today, but I’m already back at the studio working on new stuff, getting beats ready.

GO: Do you do all of the writing/creating yourself?

TR: That’s something I’m proud of. I don’t buy people’s beats. I make everything I do. I make it myself or I work with my buddies and they help me out.

GO: So, when should we expect the next album?

TR: This EP took me a year and a half but I don’t want my next one to take as long which is why I’m back in the studio already. It might have a bit of a tone shift. Not as funny and comical. Definitely won’t be serious like Eminem, but might not be as comedy driven, like this EP. So we got a long way to go before the next thing is ready.

GO: Okay, I have to ask, Trump or Hilary?

TR: Oh geez. (laughs) I will not get involved with this. Elections make me sick. I know it’s important for our country but all I ask is that people are informed because people just listen to sound bites or twitter headlines and listen to that instead of actually being informed on what either platform is about. And I made this decision before even coming into this industry, that if I ever became someone with a big enough voice that people would listen to, that I’d never name drop like “Oh you should vote for them”.  I say be informed because we all have different values and it varies what’s important to us. So it’s more important to vote for what you believe in rather than who Kanye West likes and who he told you to vote  for.

So GrownGO; Some wise words indeed my friend. Tony Reavis, thank you for coming in to chat with me today and best of luck in your career!

TR: Thank you Gina and thank you for having me! Thanks for the support!

GO: Tony Reavis’ EP, So Grown, is out TODAY! You can get it on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play AND Amazon!

To check out his music video Dope Ass Day, please click the link here: Dope Ass Day Music Video

 

Follow Tony Reavis on Social Media!

Twitter: @iamtonyreavis
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nstagram: @iamtonyreavis

DIRECT LINKS to Tony Reavis’ EP So Grown:
iTunes: So Grown
Spotify: So Grown
Google Play: So Grown
Amazon: So Grown

 

 

 

Follow Gina on Twitter and Instagram @ginaomilon. Stay tuned for more blogs!
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